Review: A Distant World Beckons by Thomas Eberhard ★★★★

a distant worldThis unusual book, A Distant World Beckons: Embracing The Mystical, from Minnesota author Thomas Eberhard explores the fascinating topic of communication with the deceased, and shares anecdotes from people who have made contact with loved ones who have passed. Is it just our own negativity and cynicism, and maybe fear that stops us believing that there is another side to existence, and if we believe in what is possible, can we build an enriching life experience with our dearly departed?

Eberhard grew up in the countryside on a farm, and has become acutely sensitive to signs and possible messages from the other side during his lifetime. If this all seems like the plot to Interstellar or Signs, it is certainly in these kinds of real-life experiences that other storytellers may garner their material for the fictional world. Unfortunately this may detract from what Eberhard is saying, which is that the truth may be that if we are to step outside of our skepticism and look around us, it is possible to find a new doorway of the universe to the likes of Heaven.

Eberhard also shares his poetry with the reader, adding some whimsy, and maybe this book would have appeared more solid in fact without these musings, which tend to romanticize his valid points at times, which is a shame. These poems would serve better in a separate volume, not detracting from the point of his book. After all, the point is to be taken seriously in a philosophical and empirical way here. But maybe the author’s idea was to open the reader’s mind with these verses. For me, they give a layer of too much subjectivity in a book that could have reached further into research and the human condition without these being added in.

The other big issue is the book cover. The cover does not express the interior of the book at all, and is rather template-like, with a lurid shamrock green color pervading the fuzzy Mistral font. The football in the design doesn’t express anything inviting either, and the reader would have to read on to understand its significance in the first section of the story. Added to that, a rather amateurish addition of motifs throughout do nothing for the reader and don’t sit right on a Kindle. This book would definitely benefit from a new cover design, perhaps professionally designed to match the quality of the content, with a removal of all the interior designs. The writing could also do with an edit, as the language reads rather stiffly, and is very long in the tooth in getting to the point at times. It could probably start at the third juncture, where the book really hits its stride and gets down to the core of its matter.

However, the sentiment is there, and this book encourages us to find great joy in everything small and big, and to embrace the mysticism of the title by watching for evidence of, not a creator, but of meaning in life in ordinary happenings all around us.

This book is sure to comfort the bereft, and is interesting in its ideas of nature and the fabric of the soul. With a few updates, this book could be a really good addition to any library on the subject of spirituality and The Other Side.

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